What to do in Mexico City in three days

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Just like with every  other great city in the world, getting to know all the corners of Mexico City would take a lifetime. But a well-prepared traveler can manage to explore its surface in a couple of days, fall in love with the city, and immediately feel the need to return. We tried the LATAM Travel guide for people with little time but eager to discover the Mexican capital.

 

Day 1

8 a.m. - Historical walk  

To understand a city you must start from scratch – in this case, from the very center. The Zócalo, or Plaza de la Constitución, formerly a ceremonial center for the Aztec people, is now surrounded by two important buildings: Catedral Metropolitana and Palacio Nacional. In the latter, you’ll find Diego Rivera’s famous mural Epopeya del Pueblo Mexicano, which tells the political history of the country. There are agencies (like Sistema Moderno de Viajes, associated with LATAM Travel) that can help you better understand the local history.

Palacio Nacional: Plaza de la Constituición

Catedral Metropolitana: Plaza de la Constitución

 

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Museo Nacional de Antropología: Avenida Paseo de la Reforma y Calzada Gandhi

1 p.m. - Bosque de Chapultepec

Heading west on the tourist Avenida Paseo de la Reforma, after 3.7 miles [6 km], you’ll reach the forests of Chapultepec. Within its almost 700 hectares, you’ll find some of the most important cultural institutions in Mexico. If you have to choose between the Museo de Arte Moderno, the Auditorio Nacional, and the Museo Nacional de Antropología, pick the last one, because the museum is home to precious pre-Columbian treasures, like the famous Aztec calendar.

Museo de Arte Moderno: Avenida Paseo de la Reforma & Calzada Gandhi 

Auditorio Nacional: Avenida Paseo de la Reforma, 50

 

5 p.m. - The colors of La Ciudadela

If all you know of Mexican craftwork is related to skulls, the market of La Ciudadela will allow you to widen your repertoire. In its labyrinthine corridors, you’ll find mirrors, hats, musical instruments, and typical clothing.

 

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La Ciudadela: Avenida Balderas y Plaza de la Ciudadela

8 p.m. - Everything blue

Installed in a small palace from the 17th century, the restaurant Azul Histórico represents another way to understand Mexico City, this time through the taste buds. The menu features dishes from several regions of the country. To start, the tikin xic fish is a good option; then you should try the fried envueltitos with black mole, a thick sauce from the region of Oaxaca made with chocolate, chili pepper, and a herb known as “hoja santa” (holy leaf).

Azul Histórico: Calle Isabel la Catolica, 30

 

Day 2

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Pirámides de Teotihuacán: San Juan Teotihuacán

9 a.m. - From the Basílica de Guadalupe to Teotihuacán

One of the most notable aspects of Mexico City is its gift to celebrate the multiple cultures that enrich the area. That’s why there’s nothing more adequate than visiting the Basílica de Guadalupe and the Teotihuacán pyramids in the same walk. The former is a sanctuary for the country’s patron saint, welcoming millions of pilgrims each year. Teotihuacán is almost 25 miles [40 km] to the northwest. Those who manage to climb the 248 steps of the Pirámide del Sol are rewarded with a view of Avenida de los Muertos and the Pirámide de la Luna. It is believed that the sacred city, built in the 2nd century BC, was one of the biggest in the world in its day, with approximately 200,000 inhabitants.

Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe: Plaza de las Américas, 1, Villa de Guadalupe

 

5 p.m. - Food with love

Gerardo Vázquez Lugo grew up in the kitchen of his parents’ restaurant, Nicos. Now, as one of the most famous chefs in the country, together with his mother, Elena Lugo Zermeño, he has placed his establishment among the best in Latin America by making what he calls “family food”: “Once, my mother told me that our desserts were too simple. Then I asked her, ‘how many cooks make their own chocolate?’” At Fonda Mayora, his other restaurant, he makes fast dishes of great complexity, like the braised octopus with mescal sauce and the cactus and mushroom salad.

Nicos:  Avenida Avenida Cuitláhuac 3102

 

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Fonda Mayora: Campeche 322

9 p.m. - Trying mescal

“Mescal must be enjoyed slowly,” says Karla Moles, the owner of Palenquito Bar. Fourteen years ago, this film producer decided to change her line of business and committed to the making of this liquor, now fashionable among young people. “Mescal is the kind of alcohol that makes those who drink it very chatty,” she affirms. Her bar only serves artisanal brands, including two made by her: Milagrito and Mascarado. A good idea is to order some chapulines (fried grasshoppers) and guacamole to go with it.

El Palenquito: Avenida Álvaro Obregón, 39

 

Day 3

9 a.m. - Reinforced breakfast  

When locals hear you say you’re going to Lalo!, they’ll recommend, “Order the huevos con escamoles!” Lalo! is a modern, graffiti-covered restaurant located in the district of Roma. Escamoles are ant’s larvae – just another proof that Mexico City is deeply connected with its roots, no matter how simple or modern its restaurants are. Another option is to order chilaquiles, a dish comprised of fried tortillas and eggs with hot sauce.

Lalo!: Calle Zacatecas 173

 

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11 a.m. - Coyoacán: wings to fly

Even though Mexico City has grown, it’s still possible to find areas with older characteristics. One example is Coyoacán, which is home to colonial buildings painted with lively colors. Nevertheless, the fame of the neighborhood derives from one of its most celebrated inhabitants: Casa Azul, now home to the Frida Kahlo Museum, is where the artist was born, grew up, and lived with her husband, painter Diego Rivera. There you’ll find works and exhibits by Mexico’s most famous painter.

Museo Frida Khalo: Calle Londres, 247, Del Carmen

 

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3 p.m. - Xochimilco: a boat trip

The last stop is the neighborhood of Xochimilco. A lake of the same name has been divided into dozens of canals navigated by trajineras, boats decorated with everything you can imagine. There, you’ll find islands with varied restaurants, greenhouses with flowers and fish reservoirs, and mariachis that will approach your boat and offer serenades. Everything there is a reminder of how its former inhabitants moved around in pre-Columbian times. End your journey with a pork taco at the kiosk Carnitas El Compadre. Mexico City is, above all, a place that treasures traditions.

 

LATAM has direct flights to Mexico City from Santiago, Lima, and São Paulo.

Buy a complete package with accommodations and tours* in the destination with LATAM Travel or at latam.com

*We have car options

Special thanks: Proveedor Sistema Moderno de Viajes (SMV), Conselho de Promoção Turística do México no Brasil, Secretaria de Turismo de la Ciudad de México